Tags: issa | solis | media | labor | statistics

Issa: Labor Wants to Question Solis About Labor Department Data Changes

Wednesday, 30 May 2012 09:36 PM


  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

A congressional panel plans to question U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis about a new policy requiring news organizations to use government computers to file stories about employment data.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said in a statement today that the April 20 order on media coverage of employment statistics will be examined at a June 6 hearing on the influence of Labor Department political appointees over the collection and release of data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Solis was invited to attend the hearing along with the bureau’s acting head.

The policy, set to take effect July 1, changes a longstanding practice that lets news organizations use their own computer systems to file and transmit stories about unemployment data and consumer prices from so-called lock-ups at the Labor Department.

Reporters and editors are given the data on an embargoed basis in advance to give them time to write and edit stories from the lock-up room at the department. When the data are released, a Labor Department official flips a switch to let news organizations transmit over telephone and data lines using their own equipment.

The Sunshine in Government Initiative, a coalition of news organizations that includes the National Newspaper Association and the American Society of News Editors, protested the new policy in a May 8 letter to Solis.

Government Computers

“Requiring news organizations to draft news articles on government-owned and government-operated computers would give the government unfettered access to unpublished draft news stories and will necessarily inhibit journalists from producing thorough, timely and accurate reporting based on market-moving information,” the group said in the letter.

The Labor Department has said the changes would protect the security of market-moving data before it is released to the public. At the time the policy was announced, Labor Department spokesman Carl A. Fillichio cited “violations of the embargo and the use of equipment in the lockups” as a rationale for the changes.

The agency has ordered media organizations to remove computer software, hardware and communications lines they have installed at the department. Under the new procedures, reporters, including those working for Bloomberg News, will be required to use government computer equipment, software and Internet connections.

Unusual Trading

Earlier this month, Maine Senator Susan Collins, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, asked the Labor Department to investigate what she termed unusual trading activity before the agency released its report on employment in April.

“The sudden and negative movement in the currency and futures markets suggests the possibility that some traders may have gained unauthorized access to April’s disappointing report prior to its official release,” Collins said in a letter to Solis.

The Labor Department’s May 4 report showed that employers in the U.S. added 115,000 workers to payrolls, the fewest in six months and fewer than forecast by economists.

Treasury 10-year note futures contracts rose as high as 132 20/32 at 8:29 a.m. before the payrolls data was released at 8:30 a.m., after trading in a range of 132 2/32 to 132 5/32 just prior to the release. After the data came out, futures continued to rise, climbing as high as 132 22/32 before settling at 132 20/32.


© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Northern California Wildfire Burns 100 Homes

Monday, 15 Sep 2014 22:38 PM

A fire driven by fierce winds raced through the small town of Weed, Calif., near the Oregon border on Monday, burning a  . . .

Senate Holds Hearing on DC Statehood

Monday, 15 Sep 2014 21:06 PM

In a renewed push to grant statehood to Washington, D.C., a federal hearing was held Monday for what some hope is the st . . .

James Foley's Parents 'Disappointed' Obama Next Played Golf

Monday, 15 Sep 2014 20:57 PM

James Foley's parents say they were "disappointed" when President Barack Obama hit the golf course just minutes after ma . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved